Mums Like Us by Laura Kemp
|Mums Like Us by Laura Kemp|
|Genre: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Jo Heffer|
|Summary: Stella Smith is the busy working mother of a young son. Constantly frustrated and angered by the images of beautiful svelte like mums who lose their baby fat within weeks and never have a hair out of place, she sets out to champion the women who just about cope with motherhood but have little time for anything else. She sets up the Mums Like Us group and before she barely knows what is happening, her cause becomes a national phenomenon.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? No|
|Pages: 432||Date: February 2013|
Stella Smith is fed up with the expectation that mums should be superwomen. She feels that there are certain women, who appear to have achieved perfection in terms of motherhood, that make all other mums feel inept and inferior. She feels that realism is best and that to strive to be 'good enough' is what most mums should aspire to. That is why she sets up the 'Mums Like Us' group that meets weekly in her messy kitchen and rejoices in slovenliness, messy clothes and overeating.
The book follows the group through a year of madness and mayhem that sees the club gain worldwide recognition and takes Stella to the White House as well as being arrested during a march. Throughout the year, she does battle with another group calling themselves the 'Mother Superiors' who reject Stella's ambition of good enough and point out that she is letting her fellow women down.
It sounds as if this book should be a lot of fun and at times it is very funny. However, there are a few reasons why I felt let down as I was reading it. Firstly, I did not like the way that the book was written. It is not your typical narrative and reads like a weekly column in a newspaper or a blog. Many of the chapters are meant to be Stella addressing the meeting and recounting on the weekly happenings. Therefore it is only her voice and there is no interaction with any other characters unless reported by her. Some chapters are from Stella's husband, Matt, and here we get him emailing his mates with whom he has set up Dads United, a new and somewhat unfit football team. There is a also no interaction with other characters in these chapters.
I really wanted to like this book because I do think that the author, Laura Kemp, has a very good point to make about how the media celebration that notion of perfection in new mothers. I think that there is nothing wrong with the idea of being just good enough, as that is what most mums can just about manage, but the idea does seem to be taken to the extreme. This is illustrated by the way Stella encourages her fellow club members to eat unhealthy food, take no care over their appearance and to actually celebrate going out with your child's food and dribble all over you.
Most of the time that I was reading, it felt like the author had a huge chip on her shoulder and that the book was an excuse to have a rant at anyone who managed motherhood better than her. Because of this, Stella was not a character that I felt any warmth towards and, as a consequence, I disliked her intensely. I particularly disliked the liberal use of the F word throughout he book. Its use felt entirely unnecessary to me.
There were some moments in the book that I enjoyed but, overall, it was not a satisfying read and left me disappointed.
I would recommend taking a look at Pedigree Mum by Fiona Gibson
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